Building new home - where to put theater

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by DavidHen, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. DavidHen

    DavidHen Auditioning

    Oct 17, 2004
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    My wife and I will be building a new house in the Spring. I want to put in a dedicated home theater and would like your opinion on where in the house it should go. My three options (you may think of more) are:

    1. In the basement
    2. In a bonus room over the garage
    3. On the first floor

    Currently we live in a ranch and have a family room on the first floor that DOES NOT contain a TV, just a good stereo system. In the basement I have a living room that contains a modest home theater setup.

    We will probably be building another ranch next year and will once again have a family room on the first floor with no TV. Pros and cons:

    Basement pros
    The is a logical spot for a good dedicated home theater room. We will be using preformed concrete walls for the basement that are 10 feet tall so finished height in a theater room can easily be 8 or 9 feet, even with a riser. The basement should be plenty large enough to accommodate a decent size theater. Since we will be putting in a full basement whether we finish part of it into a home theater or not, this space tends to be cheaper than putting in a bonus room or extra square footage on first floor.

    Basement cons
    Climbing a set of stairs every time you want to watch TV or see a movie. Also having it in the basement, as opposed to the first floor makes it more isolated from the rest of the house and makes watching an event like the superbowl less social.

    Bonus room pros
    This is another common spot for a home theater. The flight of stairs going up to a spot over the garage should be shorter than going into a basement. This should be cheaper than a separate room on the first floor since there is already a roof and foundation in place.

    Bonus room cons
    Because of the pitch of garage roof, these tend to have an angled section of wall on two sides of the room. The only way to avoid this is to build the garage really tall and/or make the room smaller to avoid the roof. Making the garage tall will look a little funny on a ranch. Building a bonus room over the garage will be more expensive than the basement option. Since these spaces usually have more sides that adjoin non heated space they tend to be harder to cool and heat.

    First floor pros
    This would put a family room with no TV and the home theater room on the same floor. There is no going up or down stairs. If the house is laid our correctly, people can easily wander from the theater room to the kitchen or family room during things like super bowl parties. This makes this choice more social.

    First floor cons
    The big one here is cost. Instead of building a 1700sq ft ranch, the first floor heads toward 2,000 square feet driving up the cost.

  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

    Mar 8, 2000
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    You've raised a few good points.

    How important is sound proofing? Soundwise, a basement is probably your best location since a portion of your walls will be backed with concrete.
  3. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 27, 2002
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    my vote is for the basement, easier to keep cool in the summer, sometimes alot of components can generate heat themselves, I have a computer room in my house with 10 PC's and its a furnace in the summer, another issue is ambient light, depending on the basement light can be 90-100% controlled in a basement, and then there are the sound qualities, you cant get a much better sound deadener than a concrete foundation wall, if you have 2 walls that are concrete and 2 that are framed, then you dont have to concentrate as hard on soundproofing the concrete walls, so that cuts down on cost, I have that benifit and it has probably knocked about 200 dollars off my soundproofing budget, and trust me you want your theater sealed for sound as best as you can, so you can crank up the volume without getting grief from wifey, girlfriend, inlaws and so on..... is much more fun to have the decibals on those scenes and we all have our favorites

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